Brumbies snatch win from Crusaders 18-16 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies snatch win from Crusaders 18-16

22/02/2009 08:21:48 AM Comments (0)

A Stirling Mortlock conversion after the siren saw the Brumbies secure a last-gasp victory for the second week in a row, beating their arch-rivals the Crusaders 18-16 in Canberra on Saturday night.

In a match which lived up to expectations, the Brumbies won a heart-stopping affair after fullback Mark Gerrard levelled the scores with a try in the dying seconds of the match.

It is the second week in a row the Brumbies have secured a late victory after winning with a drop goal in the final minutes of their clash with the Highlanders.

Brumbies coach Andy Friend said it was again encouraging to see his side play out a full match.

"It's a good sign actually. Ideally we'd prefer to not have to wait until the last minute to win the game," Friend said.

Friend said he expected nothing less than a tight struggle with the reigning Super 14 champions.

"Their defence was superb, their line-speed was phenomenal, their physicality was great and forced us into a lot of errors," he said.

"We haven't experienced anything like that in pre-season or at training, you can't replicate that sort of stuff but we'll be better for having experienced that tonight."

Despite missing All Blacks trio Richie McCaw, Brad Thorn and Leon MacDonald, the Crusaders showed the depth they are renowned for, holding in their own at the breakdown.

The sides traded blows throughout a scrappy first half, scoring a try a piece with Crusaders star centre Casey Lualala and Brumbies No.10 Christian Lealiifano both crossing the line, but it was the visitors that went to the break in front 11-8.

The Brumbies played their best rugby late in the second half, with Gerrard a standout.

But it was Mortlock that stepped up to clinch victory with a conversion from wide out in windy conditions before a crowd of 17,500.

Mortlock, however, was reluctant to take credit for the heart-stopping win, adding that it was reward for the hard work put in the off-season.

"A huge part of what the guys have done in the off-season was all about the little things, character, and it's shown in both performances so far this season," Mortlock said.

"It's a solid foundation ... but we all know there's a lot of things we need to improve on."

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